- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

If even the most jaded among us regard Christmas as a day of celebration and a time to exchange presents, perhaps there is some hope for us after all.
Unless, of course, you haven't done all of your holiday shopping. This week, then, some last-minute Christmas gift ideas.
Hark the big-screen iMac sings:
It'll set you back $1,999, but the joy seen when someone unwraps the futuristic, wide-screen iMac from Apple Computer (www.apple.com/imac), may well be worth the price. The highest-priced iMac has an ultrawide screen, an 800 megahertz processor, 256 megabytes of RAM, and the SuperDrive that burns DVDs and CDs with aplomb.
Of course, music lovers will want an Apple iPod MP3 player from $299 (1,000 songs) to $499 (4,000 songs). Hook this up to a car stereo and you've got enough music to drive just about anywhere. With the supplied headphones, the sound quality is superb, and iPods now work with Windows PCs (equipped with FireWire) as well as Macs.
And we wish you a tablet PC:
Preferably the Compaq Tablet PC TC 1000 from Hewlett-Packard. Skip the base model and go for the $1,799 version with built-in 802.11b wireless, because the Tablet PC is designed to use while roaming an office or airport. Add $500 to double the 256 MB of RAM to 512 MB and go from a 30 gigabyte hard drive to a 60 GB if you want to make this your primary computer. Details are at www.hp.com.
Oh Tungsten Palm, oh Tungsten Palm:
The $499 stylish, ultracompact Palm Inc. Tungsten hand-held computer (www.palm.com) is a wonderful device that will synchronize as happily with Microsoft Outlook on a PC as it will with the Mac's Address Book or Microsoft Entourage. You get a color screen, longer battery life and a SecureDigital card slot for memory expansion, plus a range of Palm accessories and Bluetooth connectivity for easy hookups.
I saw Mommy scanning business cards:
IRIS Inc., the Florida branch of a Belgian firm noted for its optical character recognition (OCR) software has produced the IRIS Business Card Reader, a $199 device for the Mac (a Windows version is also available) that lets you scan in business cards and edit the text generated. Information can be found at www.irislink.com.
And to you your labels, too: The Dymo Labelwriter 330 Turbo, $199 in most stores (www.dymo.com), prints labels (and Internet-supplied postage from Stamps.com) in super-fast time and with great ease. The printer works with Macs (OS 9; a native OS X application is due soon) and Windows PCs; the print quality is breathtakingly sharp. Also impressive is the range of labels you can print with this device: file folders, shipping labels, CD Labels, name tags. The list is endless.
I'll speak home for Christmas:
The Olympus W-10 is a voice recorder (as long as 3 hours) with a built-in 640-by-480 pixel-resolution camera. At $99, it's a great way to take voice notes and pictures that can be downloaded to a PC for manipulation, storage and even a slide show.
And tigers under the tree:
You'll find lions, whales, bears and 112 years of the National Geographic magazine if you buy the National Geographic 112 Years Collector's Edition from Topics Entertainment, Inc. (www.topics-ent.com). The 32-CD set, for just $50, delivers every page of every issue of National Geographic magazine from 1888 through 2000, allowing users to search, view, and print the magazine's legendary library of images, stories and classic period advertising. Given that the same series of discs was sold for twice the price last year, this new product seems an excellent value.
Write to Mark Kellner at MarkKel@aol.com or visit the writer's Web page at www.kellner2000.com.

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